Speedometer Of A Very Fast Bike

8 Fastest Street Legal Motorcycles in the World (+ 5 Snails on Wheels)

You know the saying: speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly coming to a halt is what gets you!

Thanks to modern technology, motorcycles are fast enough to make speed lovers go delirious with joy. Imagine the first reaction of a motorbike engineer from a century ago who suddenly came alive and learned of such a superbike. Chances are, you’d get a smirky Yeah, right.

Besides, with the four sheets of metal guarding you, riding a motorcycle also generates a greater sense of speed. That means 30 mph can feel like you’re doing 50, or even 75.

Before we move ahead, allow me to underline one thing. This is a list of “street legal” motorcycles only.

That means we won’t be discussing something as outrageous as the Dodge Tomahawk or one of the fastest race motorbikes ever made, the Kawasaki Ninja H2R.

With that said, let’s start the ride.

The World’s Fastest Motorcycles: Top 8

Admittedly, it’s not easy to answer the question ”what are the fastest motorcycles?”

We can judge the fastest motorcycles by acceleration or top speed. But both these parameters are different animals and may paint a misleading picture.

And while the sheer horsepower a motorcycle generates may look impressive, the real-world scenario is different. You see, the power that is delivered to the rear wheel is less than what the engine generates.

Why so?

Blame the transmission losses that can be as high as ten percent.

I guess you knew that already, right? 

Here’s something else that makes it even more difficult to judge a motorcycle’s exact speed.

In reality, motorcycle speedometers aren’t accurate. And the errors are mostly on the higher side. (Don’t ask me if the errors are intentional.)

To keep things simple, we will take an overall look at the performance parameters while filling the top ranks.

8. Kawasaki Ninja ZX 14 R

Kawasaki Ninja Zx 14 R Green Motorcycle On A Motor Show
Rainmaker47, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Honestly, it is hard to believe that a motorbike launched in 2012 still remains one of the fastest motorcycles you can pick. Without a doubt, Kawasaki engineers did a stellar job as a part of their guerrilla warfare to end the dominance of the Suzuki Hayabusa.

The Ninja ZX 14 R is powered by a 1,441cc 4-stroke engine and has a curb weight of 593.1 lb. That keeps the power-to-weight ratio at a respectable 0.35 hp/lb. Opening the throttle is like saying some magic words – it takes off like hell on tires!

With the smooth engine, reduced vibrations, and the muffled exhaust note, this motorcycle can seriously screw up your sensory perceptions by disguising the real speed. The aerodynamics is inspired by the bullet trains built by Kawasaki and the handling is exceptional. 

This is more of a legacy than a machine that has stood the test of time. While its days are running out, it still remains the king of the road with plenty of Ninja magic.

7. Aprilia RSV4

Aprilia Rsv4 In A Motor Show
Thesupermat, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The RSV4 was a pet project of the Aprilia Racing Division and I it won’t be entirely wrong to call this motorcycle a street-legal missile. Since it was introduced way back in 2009, the continuous development of more than a decade has made the performance super mature.

At its core, the motorcycle has the legendary 1100 cc V4 engine architecture that delivers 217 hp. As expected, it performs ferociously across the entire rev range and the delivery at the low and top ends will leave you giddy with excitement. Reportedly, the top speed is above 180 mph.

The stellar performance of the stability and wheelie control software makes it a safe choice for mere mortals like me.

That said, the RSV4 isn’t the lightest choice in the superbike spectrum. If you want something nimble and livelier, something like the Ducati Superleggera V4 is a better option. (Scroll down to my pick #4 for more on the Ducati.)

6. Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP

Honda Cbr1000rr R Fireblade Sp Parked
Rama., CC BY-SA 2.0 FR https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en, via Wikimedia Commons

(Hold on. Did I get the number of Rs right?)

With the SP, Honda has moved out of the road-bike-first design approach that made many sportbike enthusiasts fret over the previous CBRs. This is an all-new machine with a much sharper design that looks and performs like a true race bike.

Once you get the 4-stroke 999cc engine raging, it can churn out 214 hp (160Kw) of power. The higher-revving engine has been redesigned to make it more powerful than the past variants. And its smoothness feels other-worldly when the Fireblade takes off.

What makes it unique is the use of multiple modes in damping settings that allows a rider to customize the feel of the bike based on the ride conditions.

Along with the additional Rs in its name, the price of the bike has also gone up from the previous CBRs. But that’s the price for a taste of Honda’s brilliant craftsmanship in an aggressive package.

5. BMW M 1000 RR

At times, manufacturers let go of their inhibitions and decide to create a true performance monster. The M 1000 RR is such a product from BMW that allows riders to break free while offering a ton of technical support to boost their confidence.

BMW has added slightly more power than the S 1000 RR to make the M 1000 RR competition-minded. The liquid-cooled 999cc engine delivers 205 hp to deliver a maximum speed of 189 mph. 

There’s plenty of engineering sorcery within the engine that makes the bike superbly nimble and the handling outstanding. Perhaps the only other motorcycle that comes close to this level of German engineering is the Ducati Superleggera V4.

Christian Gonschor from Project Management M 1000 RR explains how they managed to dodge lousy trade-offs: “Thanks to countless hours in the wind tunnel as well as in road tests, we were able to considerably increase the top speed with unchanged engine output.”

Without a doubt, the M 1000 RR is a tempting choice for any racer. But if you are a street rider looking to save some dollars, the BMW S 1000 RR can be a more value-for-money choice.

4. Ducati Superleggera V4

Red Ducati Superleggera V4
Cjp24, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ducati fans are of the opinion that the Italian brand makes bikes that mere mortals don’t deserve. And looking at the performance (and the price!) of the Superleggera V4, they aren’t entirely wrong.

With the Superleggera V4, the Ducati designers have stretched the limits even further. 

In other words, this is Ducati showing off its engineering capabilities.

Ducati has fed the Superleggera a strict carbon fiber diet to reduce body fat drastically. That means, it is leaner with an unbelievable dry weight of 159 kg (350 lb). Add the racing kit and you get an incredible power/weight ratio of 1.54 hp/kg (0.69 hp/lb).

However, leanness doesn’t come at the cost of muscle power. Below the carbon fiber shell lies the Desmosedici Stradale R engine which has true racing DNA. It generates 165 kW (224 hp) and 85.6 lb-ft of torque. So, hitting 200 mph won’t be a problem for this superbike.

3. Damon Hypersport Premier

This flagship electric model from the Canadian electric bike firm is a tour de force that packs a lot of power, and much more. It generates 200 hp which takes a bit more than 3 seconds to push the bike from 0 to 60 mph. The official top speed is 200 mph.

In case you feel unsure about all that speed, there’s the Advanced Warning System that makes the Hypersport super safe. Damon uses AI and 360-degree awareness to predict dangers on the street. 

And as it goes with AI, you can expect the Hypersport to become smarter and safer with each ride. (Finally, you can realize your dream of riding a “Terminator”.) 

Bonus, being an electric bike, you will never feel like you are hugging a growling grizzly.
Moreover, Damon’s CEO Jay Giraud will personally test rides their products on a track before introducing them. “We want a safer future for everybody – it’s why I do what I do,” he says.


Lightning Ls 218 Parked On Grass
Daniel Hartwig from San Mateo, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There were naysayers who doubted the performance of electric motorcycles. Then came the Lightning LS-218, which blew everyone away with its top speed of 218.637 mph. This is what you call capital-F Fast! 

And with the instant torque available, it can race from 0-6 in just 2.2 seconds. But take it from the horse’s mouth: “We actually can’t even apply full throttle until after 100 mph because there is so much torque available that it will just spin and smoke the tire on the dyno.”

The IPM liquid-cooled electric motor inside the LS-218 delivers 200 HP and a torque of 168 ft-lbs. That gives it a power-to-weight ratio ofis 0.40 hp/lb – good enough for one of the fastest street-legal motorcycles.

To be honest, there are areas like comfort and electronics where Lightning could do better. Even so, keeping up with giants like Honda and Kawasaki is a monumental achievement.

1. MTT 420-RR

If there’s one motorcycle that’s truly bonkers in terms of speed, this one is it. The 420-RR is powered by a Rolls Royce Allison 420 hp turbine with a massive output of 500 ft/lbs of torque. 

The result, apart from the awesome sound, is an insane top speed of 273 mph!

With this much power packed into a motorbike that weighs around 500 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio is beyond fantastic.

In truth, there are plenty of fast cars that generate less power than the 420-RR. Honestly, Victor Frankenstein would have been proud of this creation. Not exactly Ack Attack, but it’s as close to it as it gets without having you arrested.

But can the narrow contact patch of the rear wheel really handle so much power?

The cautious among us will be pleased to hear that the 420-ERR comes in a three-wheeled trike version too.

If looks are your cup of tea, MTT can customize the colors and graphics as per your preferences ensuring that no two products are the same. But considering the price tag (around $150,000), you really need to be a Bruce Wayne to get your feet around one of the fastest motorcycles in the world.

Bonus: 5 Slowest Motorcycles You Will Find

Now that reading about these speed demons has got your juices flowing, let’s take a look at the other side of the spectrum.

Hold on a second. Who in their right mind wants to know about the slowest motorcycles?

Two reasons. Firstly, it’s fun

Besides, there are plenty of regular weird people around. Hidden among us might be a masochistic wacko who loves riding something that lags behind everything else on the road.

And another thing. Just because a motorcycle is slow, it need not be a bad motorcycle.

5. Kawasaki KLX 230

If you think the electronic wizardry in motorcycles is getting too complicated, the KLX 230 is as old school as it gets. The 233cc 4-stroke single-cylinder engine is as simple as it gets. 

Even if you aren’t keen on hitting dirt trails, the KLX230 excels when it comes to urban riding. But it isn’t designed for regular highway riding – especially if you’re a heavy rider.

The modest power output combined with the light weight makes it a beginner-friendly motorcycle. And comparing the fun factor with the price tag, it’s a no-brainer for newbies looking to develop their off-road learning experience.

4. Honda CRF300L

Honda Crf300l
Chanokchon, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a street-legal dirt bike that’s one of the most versatile options from the Honda stable. The 286-cc engine is a tough mule that will not deliver speed but will get the job done. While it’s a dual-purpose motorcycle, the CRF300L is more comfortable being a dirt bike.

Whether you are climbing mountains or riding over asphalt, the bike will perform as a dependable foot soldier. And once you understand its limits, the ride quality will get more comfortable. 

The affordable price and user-friendly platform make the CRF300L a solid bang for your buck – as long as you’re not looking to move fast.

3. Royal Enfield Himalayan

Royal Enfield Himalayan In An Off Road Action
lensnmatter, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Quite simply, the Royal Enfield Himalayan was built for adventure and not speed. With an output of 24.3 bhp from the 411cc motor, it’s not taking you anywhere quickly. But this is a unique bike that you can depend on while tackling dirt trails.

Moreover, ADV riding is not about sitting on a power plant. Yes, the acceleration in the Himalayan is as slow as me getting ready in the morning. But if you have the patience and experience, the Himalayan will take you to places the Kawasaki Ninjas of the world can’t dream of.

2. Honda Grom

Honda Grom
Rainmaker47, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Honda Grom remains one of the best-selling street bikes from the brand in the US. With its diminutive size and sporty looks, it is a fun bike to ride for hour-long trips around town.

With the 124-cc single-cylinder engine, hitting 60 mph will be a big achievement with the Grom. But it’s a fun bike that’s great for riding through narrow alleys and snaking through one-way traffic.

Honestly, I don’t know what makes the Grom turn heads more than Harleys or BMWs. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s simple and approachable. And speed is not the only aspect that generates fun in life.

1. Kawasaki Z125 PRO

Kawasaki Z125 Pro At A Motor Show
Rainmaker47, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With a 125 cc engine that generates 7.1 lb-ft of torque, the Z125 pro is a utilitarian bike that offers tons of versatility. But when it comes to speed on a highway, it’s as slow as a sloth on a breakfast table. Which also makes it one of the safest bikes out there.

It goes without saying that there’s a lot it can’t do, including tackling highway speeds. Nor is it the best choice for taking on the backroads that lead to your grandma’s house.

But it’s an excellent urban crawler and small enough to carry in a minivan. The small size makes it perfect for passing through gaps in traffic. But if you’re above six feet, it will be too small for comfort.

Wrap Up

No matter whether you are riding the world’s fastest motorcycle or the slowest, remember this…

The most dangerous nut in a motorcycle is the one that connects the seat to the handlebar.

So, make sure to take all the safety measures every time you ride.